Swimmin Baths Expedition by Alun Robert

On miserable foggy morns
when horns were screechin,
we’d march frae Glebelands School
alang side streets o Dundee
in a column twa pupils wide
jostlin an pushin wi

broon satchels on oor backs
stuffed o cossie an towel
wi trepidation on oor faces
frae a prospect o dookin
at yon public baths complex
located on Earl Grey Dock
filled wi salty water
little warmer than freezin then

armed wi wire baskets
fur tae store clathes an oor chattels,
we’re packed intae poolside cubicles
wi wooden doors like Swiss cheese:
yon domicile o cockroaches
penguinesque in thair tolerance
made us shudder an squirm,
made us change much quicker an

into depths o yon Arctic
or was it Antarctica
supervised by Annie Sweeney
oor maître d’piscine
tae fake swim at the shallow end
wi both feet ticklin ceramic tiles
stayin well away frae a chairie
(divin board fur the intrepid) wi

teeth chatterin an knees knockin,
lookin high fur divine inspiration
though tall windows an vacant galleries
bringin little comfort if any so
keepin far frae the deep end
yon playground o porpoise
wi its drain set tae suck
bairn’s feet tae its core then

efter an hoor o much posturin,
released frae abject purgatory
in a bluer shade o pale
an reekin o chlorine aff
intae powerless showers
fur minutes o warm heaven,
then back tae reality fur
tae dry aff wi cockroaches an

a few tarnished pennies spent
in the public baths complex
at Abbie Davis’ café
profferin squishy plastic cups
o Knorr chicken soup tepid,
Cadbury’s chocolate drink scaldin
tae remove part o the palate
tae bring the torso back tae life then

marched alang crooked pavements
through side streets o Dundee
back tae Glebelands School
in a column twa pupils wide
jostlin an pushin while
fog horns screech screech loud.


During the summer of 2018, poetry by Alun Robert has won third place in the RNIB’s Writing Competition, received Commendation in the Federation of Writers Scotland Vernal Equinox Poetry Competition, been published in The Curlew by Wild Wood Press and displayed in Nine Muses Poetry and The Ekphrastic Review websites.

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